Here’s the lowdown on some of Croatia's top beaches.
*1777km of mainland coastline and 5835km including the islands.
The shoreline of Croatia’s Makarska Riviera presents 6km of sandy beaches, interspersed with hideaway coves and pretty Dalmatian villages with great seafood restaurants. Star of the show is pine-scented Brela beach, with its translucent water and rocky outcrops.
A remarkable 44 Istrian beaches have Blue Flag status and whilst there are fewer sandy beaches on the peninsula than elsewhere along the Croatian coastline, there are several in the area around Pula. Top spot goes to the lovely one kilometre long Bijeca beach in Medulin. Sections of this beach are sandy and gently shelving making it a great choice for families with young children. Elsewhere, there are plenty of small rocky coves and fine stone beaches but the rugged coastline around the nature reserve of Cape Kamenjak offers dreamy hideaway bathing spots in pebbly bays and on flat stone slabs.
Zlatni Rat, Brac
Croatia's most famous beach is 2km from the town of Bol on the delightful island of Brac. The golden spit of sand and pebbles continually changes in shape, stretching out into crystal clear waters, and equipped with sun beds and umbrellas. All along the coast from Zlatni Rat beach to Bol centre is a shady promenade ideal for a last walk back to your villa at the end of the day. Bol is a popular location for wind surfing and a whole range of water sports.
On the tiny Pakleni island of Sveti Klement, is a popular destination for boat excursions from Hvar Town. Dense pine forests, rosemary and heather provide a backdrop to Palmizana beach which is pebbly and sandy. In amongst the trees behind the beach is the wonderfully atmospheric Meneghello restaurant. A regular taxi boat service will transport you from the quay in Hvar town to Palmizana Marina from where you make the short walk across the island to the beach. If you walk the path down the length of the island you find less visited but equally beautiful beaches.
This beach offers an altogether different experience. Close to Split on the southern Dalmatian coast, the lively sandy beach is the spiritual home of picigin, a local game rather like a net-less version of volleyball that is played in the shallow sea. There is a good selection of cafes and restaurants and, in the evening, plenty of nightlife.
This is one of the top beaches of the Peljesac peninsula, a sheltered beach fringed by pines and ancient olive trees, 3km from the pretty medieval town of Ston. The wide beach is sandy and gently shelving so ideal for young children. The water is fabulously clear and a beachside cafe and nearby restaurant provide ample refreshment. The small car park fills up early in mid summer but you can park on the long approach road as well.